It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no! It’s Wallace’s Flying Frog! Located in the tropical jungles of Malaysia and Borneo, one of the FEW aerial amphibians on this planet is the Wallace’s Flying Frog. Sizing in at about 4 inches (about the size of a tea-cup), these thrifty and quick frogs annoy and pester their predators. Named after the British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace (the man who first studied and described these species), this type of frog is known for parachuting almost 50 feet away from its location. Many reasons contribute to why they “fly”. They may be in danger of a predator, looking for prey, trying to mate, or even attempting to lay eggs. Whatever the reason, this amphibian is amongst the largest to do so.
After understanding why they “fly”, I was curious to learn how. I had to know the science and physics of its ever-so-unique defense and mating mechanism. When they leap, they spread out their four-webbed feet and catch the air around them. This, coupled with their incredible loose skin flaps, helps them glide, or parachute, through the air effortlessly and smoothly. Their over-sized toe pads help them land smoothly, whether it be on a close tree branch or even the ground. Their flight is quite remarkable, and makes it easy for them to attack their pray (which is mainly insects).
If your ever in the tropical jungles of Malaysia or Borneo, look for the frog’s distinct bright green color tagged with a dark black foot webbing. This webbing discerns them from their aerial neighbors.
Laman, Tim. “Wallace’s Flying Frog.” Nationalgeographic.com. National Geographic. Web. 22 Sept. 2011. <http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/amphibians/wallaces-flying-frog/>.